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Author Topic: A question about the Somme battlefield....  (Read 645 times)

Offline P-Kasso2

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A question about the Somme battlefield....
« on: 03 July, 2016, 05:35:53 PM »
Click to enlarge.


Scarily, it could take another 500 years to clear all the explosive devices still buried in the Somme battlefield.(* See footnotes if you don't believe it.)

Bomb disposal experts are apparently still busily at work and so far have cleared a staggering 25 tonnes of munitions and that is just this year.

All of which naturally makes me wonder...

How badly contaminated has dropping a fifth of a million tons of high explosives left the surrounding farmland? After the battle, was the Somme farmland instantly re usable for growing crops? Or did it take years before it returned to health?


In just the week before the battle of the Somme began, 2.5million shells were fired by the British and the French at German lines. These weren't the odd little bullets but unbroken barrages of high explosive shells.  The Germans responded with their own vast salvos of shells.

On the first day, the British celebrated by firing yet another 1.5 million shells and another 250,000 shells were fired on Day 2 during a bombardment so severe it could be heard on Hampstead Heath, 165 miles (266 km) away.

What is seldom mentioned is that up to 45 to 90 fully loaded ammunition trains per week were needed to feed the Somme with 148,000 tons of munitions ranging from 20 ton mines to heavy artillery and mortars, howitzers and rifle bullets by the million**

As well as the land being bombarded with massive amounts of high explosives, the ex-farmland also had to endure frequent drenchings in clouds of mustard gas and chlorine gas.

Before 1915 it was once a highly fertile agricultural area. Have the chemically highly toxic side-effects of the battle had any backlash on the landscape's suitability for food production? Did it need de-contaminating? How long did decontamination take? And are those toxic effects still being felt today? Or is it business as usual for farmers in the area?

* http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/685299/Battle-of-the-Somme-bomb-disposal-teams-clearing-mines-100-years-on

**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_day_on_the_Somme#Battle
« Last Edit: 18 July, 2016, 03:59:16 PM by P-Kasso2 »
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Offline P-Kasso2

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Re: A question about the Somme battlefield....
« Reply #1 on: 18 July, 2016, 03:57:42 PM »
Click to enlarge.


Scarily, it could take another 500 years to clear all the explosive devices still buried in the Somme battlefield.(* See footnotes if you don't believe it.)

Bomb disposal experts are apparently still busily at work and so far have cleared a staggering 25 tonnes of munitions and that is just this year.

All of which naturally makes me wonder...

How badly contaminated has dropping a fifth of a million tons of high explosives left the surrounding farmland? After the battle, was the Somme farmland instantly re usable for growing crops? Or did it take years before it returned to health?


In just the week before the battle of the Somme began, 2.5million shells were fired by the British and the French at German lines. These weren't the odd little bullets but unbroken barrages of high explosive shells.  The Germans responded with their own vast salvos of shells.

On the first day, the British celebrated by firing yet another 1.5 million shells and another 250,000 shells were fired on Day 2 during a bombardment so severe it could be heard on Hampstead Heath, 165 miles (266 km) away.

What is seldom mentioned is that up to 45 to 90 fully loaded ammunition trains per week were needed to feed the Somme with 148,000 tons of munitions ranging from 20 ton mines to heavy artillery and mortars, howitzers and rifle bullets by the million**

As well as the land being bombarded with massive amounts of high explosives, the ex-farmland also had to endure frequent drenchings in clouds of mustard gas and chlorine gas.

Before 1915 it was once a highly fertile agricultural area. Have the chemically highly toxic side-effects of the battle had any backlash on the landscape's suitability for food production? Did it need de-contaminating? How long did decontamination take? And are those toxic effects still being felt today? Or is it business as usual for farmers in the area?

* http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/685299/Battle-of-the-Somme-bomb-disposal-teams-clearing-mines-100-years-on

**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_day_on_the_Somme#Battle

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